The effects of Michigan’s new right-to-work law won't be felt until 2015 for many of Macomb Township’s public sector unions.
The new law, which prohibits public and private sector unions from requiring membership or dues from the workers they represent, is due to take effect March 31, 2013. However, the legislation exempts police and fire unions.
While the new law won’t affect existing union contracts, once contracts expire, employees won't be required to pay union dues, although they will still be covered by union-negotiated contracts along with those of their colleagues who elect to pay dues.
Union contracts for Macomb Township's hourly staff and management were recently renewed and are not due to expire until June 30, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015, respectively.
New Haven Community Schools also has another year on its current union contracts.
However, the wait isn't quite as long for all Macomb Township public school districts.
In Chippewa Valley Schools, the teachers’ union contract as well as the contracts belonging to paraprofessionals, clerical employees and support groups are slated to expire in the summer of 2013.
Utica Community Schools' teacher and paraprofessional unions are currently negotiating their contracts, which are due to expire June 30, 2012. Only if these contracts are renewed before March 31, 2013 will right-to-work not become an immediate reality.
Other unions serving UCS, such as food service, secretaries, skilled trades and transportation drivers, have contracts good through June 30, 2015.
L'Anse Creuse Public Schools' clerical union is also negotiating its contract while its paraprofessionals' union contract expires June 30, 2013. The district's teachers, administrators and support staff have contracts expiring in the summer of 2014.
Right-to-work fight could continue on ballot in 2014
Although the legislature's addition of a $1 million appropriation to the right-to-work bill makes it impossible to repeal by referendum, as the Michigan Constitution does not extend the power of referendum to "acts making appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds," it could be repealed in the next general election though a state ballot initiative.
Since voters cast a total of 3,226,088 votes in the last Michigan gubernatorial election, opponents of right-to-work would need to collect around 260,000 signatures to place a repeal initiative on the 2014 ballot.